Historical Ecology

Learning from the Past to Understand the Present and Forecast the Future of Ecosystems

SCIENCES - Historical Ecology

Historical Ecology

Edited by

Guillaume Decocq, University of Picardy Jules Verne, France

ISBN : 9781789450903

Publication Date : October 2022

Hardcover 316 pp

165.00 USD



This book addresses present-day landscapes, ecosystem functioning and biodiversity as legacies of the past. It implements an interdisciplinary approach to understand how natural or human-impacted ecological systems have changed over time.

Historical Ecology combines theory, methods, regional case studies and syntheses to provide a complete up-to-date overview of historical ecology. Beginning with the crucial role of time and inference from observed patterns, the book critically reviews the main methodological approaches, including monitoring of permanent plots, analysis of old maps, repeat photography, remote sensing, soil analysis, charcoal analysis, botanical indicators, and combinations of these methods applied to forest ecosystems.

A series of case studies from various biomes shows how historical ecology can help in understanding today’s socio-ecosystems, such as mainland and island forests, orchards, tundra and coastal dunes. The book concludes by showing how historical ecology can answer timely fundamental research questions and provide science-based evidence for landscape and ecosystem management.


1. A General Introduction to Historical Ecology, Guillaume Decocq.
2. Historical Resurveys Reveal Causes of Long-term Ecological Change, Donald M. Waller.
3. Getting the Right Answer Can Take a While: Long-term Ecological Field Studies as Historical Ecology, Franck S. Gilliam.
4. Gaps and Cracks in Land Cover Mapping for Historical Ecology, Francesca Di Pietro, Roger Coly, Clémence Chaudron and Samuel Leturcq.
5. The Use of Repeat Photography in African Historical Ecology, Michael Timm Hoffman and Rick F. Rohde.
6. Remote Sensing for Historical Ecology, Pierre-Alexis Herrault and David Sheeren.
7. Soil Archives: Where Soilscape History Meets Present-day Ecosystems, Boris Brasseur, Damien Ertlen and Vincent Robin.
8. Continuous and Nested Time in Historical Ecology: Application to Soil Studies, Damien Ertlen.
9. The Analysis of Relic Charcoal Kilns for the Assessment of Forest Trajectories, Vincent Robin, Alexa Dufraisse and Claudia Oliveira.
10. Ancient Trees and Botanical Indicators as Evidence for Change and Continuity in Landscape Evolution, Ian D. Rotherham.
11. Towards a Methodological Framework for Investigating the Hidden History of Woodland Covers, Damien Marage, Catherine Fruchart, Isabelle Jouffroy, Isabelle Jouffroy-Bapicot, Olivier Girardclos and Vincent Balland.
12. The Gate to the Forest is in its History, Keith J. Kirby.
13. Plant Assemblages and Ecosystem Functioning, a Legacy of Long-term Interactions with Large Herbivores, Christophe Baltzinger and Anders Marell.
14. A Historical Ecology of the Compiègne Forest (N France), Jérôme Buridant, Boris Brasseur, Hélène Horen, Emilie Gallet-Moron and Guillaume Decocq.
15. The Chestnut Orchards in the Bolognese Apennines: A Vanishing Socio-ecological Habitat, Giovanna Pezzi, Fabrizio Ferretti, Alberto Maltoni, Patrik Krebs, Marco Conedera and Giorgio Maresi.
16. Claudius’ Coin in the Forest – Niche Construction and Strategies by Early Colonizers of Boreal Inlands in Central Scandinavia, Ove Eriksson and Karl-Johan Lindholm.
17. Recent History of Vegetation Changes in the Arctic, Antoine Becker-Scarpitta, Bastien Parisy and Tomas Roslin.
18. Reconstructing the Impact of Humans on Aotearoa New Zealand’s Biodiversity, Nicolas J. Rawlence, Alexander J.F Verry, Karen Greig, Justin. Maxwell, Lara D. Shepherd and Richard Walter.
19. Historical Ecology of the Coastal Aeolian Sedimentary Systems of the Canary Islands, Aarón Moisés Santana-Rodriguez, Antonio Ignacio Hernandez-Cordero, Néstor
Marrero-Rodriguez, Leví Garcia-Romero, Elisabet Fernandez-Cabrera, Carolina
Pena-Alonso, Emma Pérez-Chacon Espino and Luis Hernandez-Calvento.
20. Historical Forest Microclimates, Emiel De Lombaerde, Karen De Pauw, Pallieter De Smedt, Jonathan Lenoir, Camille Meeussen, Thomas Vanneste, Kris Verheyen, Florian Zellweger and Pieter De Frenne.
21. Causes and Consequences of Extinction Debts: Perspectives for Historical Ecology and Biological Conservation, Grégoire Blanchard and François Munoz.
22. Historical Ecology for the Past and the Future: Organizing at Local and Regional Scales, Carole L. Crumley.

About the authors/editors

Guillaume Decocq is a professor of plant sciences at the University of Picardy Jules Verne, France, where he leads a multidisciplinary research group on forest dynamics. He created the historical vegetation ecology working group of the International Association for Vegetation Science.